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Together these buildings comprise one of Europe's largest health campuses.Aberdeen has 14,150 students from undergraduate to doctoral level (as of 2016/17), including many international students.Aberdeen was highly unusual at this time for having two universities in one city: as 20th-century University prospectuses observed, Aberdeen had the same number as existed in England at the time (the University of Oxford and University of Cambridge).Initially, Marischal College offered the Principal of King's College a role in selecting its academics, but this was refused - the first blow in a developing rivalry.The 1858 Act of Parliament stated the "united University shall take rank among the Universities of Scotland as from the date of erection of King's College and University." The university is thus Scotland's third oldest and the United Kingdom's fifth oldest University.The relationship of the two ex-college campuses has changed over the years.
The university's Foresterhill campus is next to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and houses the School of Medicine and Dentistry as well as the School of Medical Sciences.
Following the Scottish Reformation in 1560, King's College was purged of its Roman Catholic staff but in other respects was largely resistant to change.
George Keith, the fifth Earl Marischal was a moderniser within the college and supportive of the reforming ideas of Peter Ramus.
During the mid-20th century departments which had been at Marischal College moved into one of these new buildings (most at King's College) and by the late 20th-century Marischal College had been abandoned by all but the Anatomy Department, a graduation hall and the Marischal Museum (Marischal College has now been restored as the headquarters of Aberdeen City Council, which is leasing a portion of the complex from the university).
Following extensive fundraising, a £57 million new university library (the Sir Duncan Rice Library) opened in autumn 2011 at the King's College campus to replace the outgrown Queen Mother Library Today, most students spend most of their time in modern buildings which provide up-to-date facilities for teaching, research and other activities such as dining.